Schools Remain Closed in the Philippines

While most K-12 schools in the United States have reopened to in-person classes this school year, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) tells us that about 140 million children are still waiting for their first day to attend school. Among countries that have not reopened schools is the Philippines. The country is currently facing a surge in COVID cases and vaccination has only reached seventeen percent of the population.

Above copied from PhilStar

A teacher's group in the Philippines, Teachers' Dignity Coalition, recently criticized the plans of the Department of Education to hold webinars for teachers:

Most schools were closed last year and we do have plenty of lessons to learn regarding what is important in both teaching and learning. In an article, "Adapting and Enduring: Lessons Learned from International School Educators During COVID-19", published in the Journal of Research in International Education, these lessons are summarized:

  • Technology Access - Do teachers, students and parents have the devices and network required to do online schools?
  • Technology Use - Do teachers, students and parents have the skills to work with tools and applications in an online environment?
  • At-home support - Do children have the space, time and environment to do schoolwork at home?
Teachers, students and parents are actually very resourceful in navigating technology so the second point mentioned above if of least concern. The questions that therefore remained to be addressed are: Do children have access to laptops, smartphones, and network; and do these children have a place and time in their homes to learn? I do not think requiring teachers to attend a webinar can really address this.